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Re: [Groff] Mission statement

From: Ingo Schwarze
Subject: Re: [Groff] Mission statement
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2014 12:58:09 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)


James K. Lowden wrote on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 12:03:33AM -0400:
> On Mon, 17 Mar 2014 21:49:49 -0400 Peter Schaffter wrote:

>> Serving PDF manuals from the web has drawbacks, possibly
>> serious ones: it assumes an installed PDF reader, and there's
>> significant latency involved with firing one up.


> In 2014, is there a single web browser remaining not configured to
> display PDFs?  

Yes, mine for example.  I have never installed any PDF plugin to
any browser on any of my machines, and i only very rarely set up a
browser to spawn an external PDF reader; and if so, only a very
basic one, certainly not implementing clickable hyperlinks.
Almost always, i'm working with the "offer download window" option
for PDF content, which means that i mostly ignore all PDF content
on the web except in very special cases where i'm *really* interested
in a specific document *and* somewhat trust the source.

The attack surface of the browser is already much larger than i'm
confortable with.  I'm certainly not going to expand it yet more
by accepting PDF documents to my machine.  Security-wise, PDF is
one of the most dangerous file formats, nowadays.

> Is the latency significant, really?  For an interactive application,
> a second or two matters.  For documentation that takes time to read
> anyway, I'm not sure it's that important.  

For looking up an option, it matters; for reading half a manual, it
does not.  So i wouldn't configure man(1) to run

  groff -mandoc -Tps /usr/share/man/man1/ksh.1 | gv -

it causes noticable delay even on a reasonably modern machine.
Even though

  mandoc -Tps /usr/share/man/man1/ksh.1 | gv -

would be fast enough, i don't use it because less(1) lets me search
the content.


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